Simulation - a good thing, right?

Just a short note on this topic, which is increasingly in the news, especially if you follow football.

A simulation traditionally describes an exercise in which a real event is staged or reproduced as authentically as possible, often for training purposes. It can be quite simple, perhaps focusing on a particular business issue or skill, and is an opportunity to practise in controlled conditions. This is sometimes just called a "role play" exercise. It may also be on a larger scale, for example imagining a "pretend" hostage-taking situation, with many participants involved in a variety of roles. This kind of training simulation, however complex, is a good thing, as people can learn from it quite effectively.

More recently, simulation is the term used in football for "diving", which is not a good thing, and definitely not authentic. In other words, a player pretends to be fouled in order to gain some advantage - a free kick, penalty or even getting an opponent a yellow or red card. It's not clear where this usage came from, but it does seem unnecessary, when diving is much more accurate. In addition, because football (and the language around it) is such a big part of people's lives, it could even create an impression that the other types of simulation, for training and practice, are somehow not valid. The truth can be found in the context, of course, but that shouldn't really be necessary.


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